What are conversations?
Our conversations rooms allow members to really get to know each other by starting or participating in public discussions with each other.
How do I read the conversations?
To read the conversations, do this:
- log in
- click "Conversations" on the main menu
- click one of the conversations rooms links
- you see a list of current conversations
- click one of the conversations
- you see the conversation, complete with photos of those who have contributed
You can sort the conversations in a room in various ways, to make it easier to find interesting conversations.
- to show the most recently started conversations, click the "Sort by newest conversations" link
- to show the conversations with the most contributions, click the "Sort by hottest topics" link
- to show the conversations that have been most recently added to, click the "Sort by latest messages" link
- if you are in a meetups conversation room, you can click "Sort by meetup date" to show the meetups in date order
How do I participate in conversations?
To participate in the conversations, do this:
- log in
- click "Conversations" on the main menu
- click through to a conversations room
- click "Reply" on the message you would like to respond to
- fill in the message box
- click "Preview" to see how your message will look when sent
- correct spelling mistakes (if any!)
- click "Send"
- providing the message is appropriate for immediate publication, it will go online straight away
- click "Return to conversation"
If you want to start your own conversation, click the "Start a new conversation" link. New conversations are always pre-reviewed before publication, so they do not go online straight away.
How do I use bold and italics in the Conversations?
To use italics in your Conversations message, put an asterisk either side of the text you want to italicise. For example *this text will appear italicised*. To use bold, put two asterisks around your text. For example, **this text will appear emboldened**. Using bold and italics often helps to get your meaning across more clearly.
Why does it seem like there are missing messages in a Conversations thread?
If you have blocked another member their messages don't appear in the thread. If the conversation appears disjointed, check your list of blocked members.
Messages which have been removed by admin or by a helper, or which are under review and have not yet been posted, will not appear on the Conversations thread either but will still be included in the thread "Message counter".
How can I see all the conversations I have contributed to?
You can get a list of all the conversations you've taken part in. To do this:
- log in
- click "My conversations" on the main menu
How can I see only conversations I am interested in?
You can bookmark a conversation so you can easily get back to it later, even if you haven't taken part in the conversation. To do this:
- log in
- click "Bookmark conversation" at the top-right of the conversation you want to bookmark
To see a list of your bookmarked conversations, click "My conversations" on your left-hand menu when logged in.
To remove a bookmark from a conversation, do this:
- log in
- click "My conversations" on the main menu
- click the conversation you want to un-bookmark
- click the "Remove bookmark" link at the top-right of the conversation page
What do some of the terms people use in the conversations rooms mean?
Sometimes it can be hard to understand what people are saying in the conversations rooms, because they may use acronyms or jargon. Here is a short list of very common jargon you might see:
- forum or room or board: a collection of conversations around a certain theme or style
- thread or conversation: a conversation, a list of contributions. Many conversations make up a room or a forum.
- message or contribution or posting: a contribution to a conversation
- OP: Original Poster - a reference to the person who posted the message which started the thread
- off-topic: a contribution that does not have anything to do with the topic of the thread. Some rooms welcome off-topic contributions but in other rooms it is preferred that conversations stay on-topic
- pulled: a thread or contribution that has been removed by the moderators
- moderators or mods: staff here who oversee the conversations and remove postings that go against the guidelines
- frilly knicker: a man who sets up an account posting as a woman in order to read contributions in the women only forum - note: this is strictly against our rules
- naughty step: fictitious place where members go when their messages are held back for review
- PM: private message - a private message between two members (see Private messaging)
- LOL: laughing out loud
- PMSL: peeing myself laughing
- ROFL: rolling on the floor laughing
- CR: Common Room - one of our most popular conversations rooms
- WR or WO: the Women's Room or Women Only - our conversations room reserved for female members
- MR or MO: the Men's Room or Men Only - our conversations room reserved for male members
- OH: other half (husband, wife, partner)
- GF: girlfriend
- BF: boyfriend
- DH: Darling Husband
Can I remove something I said in the conversations?
Because your contribution forms a part of the conversation, it does not make sense to remove individual contributions to the conversations after publication. So we regret we are unable to remove messages unless they go against our conversations guidelines. The same applies for threads you have started. Once you have posted to a public Internet forum, you cannot then ask for that thread to be removed as it no longer wholly belongs to you.
I just found something I wrote in the conversations on a search engine! Why is this?
Anything you publish on the Internet in a public web site (such as this) can be picked up by search engines, and kept for all to see, pretty much forever. You should never commit anything to writing on the Internet, including this site, if you don't want your friends, your neighbours, your employer, your employees, your husbands/wives/girlfriends/boyfriends, ex-lovers, parents, grandparents, children or anybody else to see. This applies to both forum contributions, profile details, photographs and everything else you publish online.
If you don't want others to see it, don't publish it on the Internet. There is no really such thing as "private Internet publishing". If it does appear in a search engine, please don't write in asking us to remove it because we do not own the search engines and we cannot control what they index and republish. We ask all members to take responsibility for what they publish to this public web site.
What are the guidelines for conversations?
We don't have any rules over the subject matter of what can be discussed. However, like any web site we do have a set of guidelines over how subjects can be discussed. In short, all conversations must be friendly and must obey our terms and conditions. The guidelines were drawn up in an open, collaborative discussion between admin and all site members. Here is our full set of guidelines:
- Be friendly, courteous, welcoming and kind. This is the spirit of Midsummer's Eve and it's what we're all about. We have higher standards than most other web sites.
- Report problems. If you have seen something not in the spirit of Midsummer's Eve, report it to the helpdesk through our Conversations complaints form.
- Block. If you don't like somebody, block them straight away so you will never see or hear from them again. It's far better to do this than get involved in a silly dispute.
- Remember that this is permanent. Your words will stay here for many weeks, months, maybe even years, and may be indexed by search engines. Show yourself in the best possible light, be a great ambassador for yourself, be the best person you can be.
- Unfriendliness/trolling. Covers: insults; counter-insults; attacks; counter-attacks; deliberate wind-ups; abuse of moderators or staff; accusations of being fake; continuing unfriendliness in public instead of reporting it;
- Bullying/playground tactics. Covers: low-level repeated sniping, sarky or backhanded remarks; repeated annoying behaviour not covered by other guidelines;
- Breaching privacy or confidentiality. Covers: naming and shaming; publishing anything where the other person would expect privacy; breaching confidentiality of single-sex or private group forums; posting for members when they cannot post themselves; pursuing private issues with others (including MSE) in public;
If you want to make a complaint about the Conversations, you must do so via the Conversations complaints form. We can't accept complaints in any other form, as we need to know the MessageID number of the posting you are complaining about.
Different rooms are for different types of conversation - so for example in the Common Room we can expect some light-hearted banter and in the Forum the conversation is a little more serious in nature.
How are the conversations moderated?
Conversations are moderated by trained Midsummer's Eve staff, with help from experienced member volunteers called Helpers. It is impossible for staff or Helpers to read everything posted as Conversations is a free service and huge amounts of new material is posted daily. All new messages are scanned for potentially problematic content, and those which contain such material are held back for review prior to publication.
Messages which receive a number of "Inappropriate" ratings from other members will be manually reviewed by a moderator and compared with the guidelines above. If they go against the guidelines they will be removed.
Blind, impartial, bias-free moderation
We understand that members are concerned that all moderation should be free of bias. Midsummer's Eve has done more to ensure this than any other web site we know of.
- Blind moderation: our moderation system is completely separate from our other admin systems, and all the names of posters have been stripped out of it. So, moderators can only see what is posted, not who has posted it. This ensures moderators cannot build up an impression (good or bad) of a particular person.
- Distributed alert system. Our unique custom-built alert system allows members to vote posts "inappropriate" or "excellent". This will alert moderators to particular posts, which will then be carefully compared against the site rules. Note, this system is totally "blind", so moderators cannot see who has raised an alert, only what they are alerting us about. Again, this ensures that members may feel confident that their votes are completely anonymous.
- One post, one vote: members may only vote once per post. This ensures that a member cannot bully another member by voting their posts inappropriate multiple times.
- Context-free moderation: moderators ignore the context of postings, so decisions are strictly limited to what is posted, not why it was posted and irrelevant or unknown factors are ignored. This ensures moderators stick precisely to the guidelines, and won't let irrelevant context create a bias in their moderation. "Context" can mean anything from previous complaints about a member, information provided about the poster's health, mental health, alcohol issues, family issues, etc. This ensures admin cannot become embroiled in circular arguments about who "started it" or why a member was provoked into posting what they did. This is vital, to ensure all moderation decisions can be clearly explained and defended. It is also very important to help members understand they are responsible for what they post and cannot push the blame onto another member.
- No punishments: finally we are all adults on Midsummer's Eve so we do not (unlike most other sites) have a system of "punishing" members for overstepping the mark. Instead we have a system of working with a member to ensure they understand how Conversations operates. Please see next section for the details.
What do Helpers do?
You can read our article about Helpers.
Working to ensure everyone can join in
At Midsummer's Eve we want to ensure everyone can join in the Conversations at all times. As we are a friendship site it is important that the Conversations are kept friendly and welcoming (see guidelines above).
If a moderator sees a message you have sent which breaks the guidelines, you may be stopped from posting to Conversations, without warning. The reasons for doing this are:
- to prevent more unfriendly messages being posted
- to take the heat out of a situation before it gets worse (very often situations like this occur at weekends and at night)
- to allow moderators time to review the situation
Because Conversations are very much "real time" it is impossible to send you a pre-warning that your ability to post is going to be stopped. By then it would usually be too late for any warning to be effective.
Also please note that admin staff cannot know you have been stopped from posting, because our system is totally "blind". So please do not assume any member of admin staff is aware that you cannot post.
What happens if you are stopped from posting
Step one:. If you find you cannot post, we advise you to contact the helpdesk. Please note, the helpdesk will not contact you to tell you about this situation, as they do not know you have been stopped, due to our blind moderation system.
Step two: If you contact us, you will be asked to provide a written statement indicating that you have read and fully understand and intend to stick to the site rules.
Step three: If you send us a statement you will be allowed to post again.
If you are asked for a statement of intent to stick to the rules but do not provide one you will not be allowed to post again.
If you post more unfriendly material after having provided a written statement.
If you provide a statement of intent to stick to the rules and are invited to post again, but then break the rules again, your invitation to post to the Conversations will be permanently revoked as we will know that you cannot understand, or do not want to understand the way Midsummer's Eve works.
If you see somebody who has broken the site rules but is still posting, this is not because the moderators have favourites or are discriminating against you, it is because they do not know about the situation yet, or have already dealt with it. Alert the moderators using the "Inappropriate" link or by sending a message to us via the Conversations complaint form, quoting the message ID number of the offending message.
Why has my contribution not been posted?
If your contribution has not been immediately posted it has been held back for reviewing by our staff. It probably contains words or phrases which are frequently used in an unfriendly context. Please wait whilst we review your contribution.
Why do I see 'Cannot display conversation' when I click on a conversation?
There are three main reasons why you may see this message:
- You need to be logged in - some conversations can be viewed by non-members and members alike. If the conversation you have clicked on is reserved for members only, please log in to view it.
- You are the wrong sex! - we have private conversations rooms for men only and women only. You are the wrong sex - sorry!
- The conversation has been removed - occasionally we remove an entire thread if it drops below our standards for friendliness
How do I report an excellent message?
If you find a message which is particularly insightful, informative, interesting or just extremely well written, we encourage you to rate it "Excellent". Click the "Rate: Excellent" link by the message to make your report. This will enable us to flag up particularly brilliant messages and give membership points to those who write them. You can only rate each message once, and you cannot rate your own messages.
How do I alert a moderator about a message?
If you find a message which offends you or you think breaks our guidelines, you can alert the moderation team. Click the "Rate: Inappopriate" link by each message to make your report. If a particular message receives a large number of inappropriate report we will manually review it and take the necessary action. You can only rate each message once, and you cannot rate your own messages.
This system works well because it is a distributed system - no one person can get your postings removed, so the potential for bullying or one on one grudges is minimised.
How can I complain about a message?
If you would like to raise a formal complaint about material you have seen in the Conversations area, please follow these instructions.
We need to ensure that all complaints are dealt with fairly and are investigated in the same way. So we have a simple process for raising, investigating and reporting back on complaints about Conversations. Here is how to raise your complaint:
Send us a note via the Conversations complaint form.